The Chicago Syndicate: Nucky Johnson
Showing posts with label Nucky Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nucky Johnson. Show all posts

Friday, December 01, 2017

Mob Fest '29: The True Story Behind the Birth of Organized Crime

Bill Tonelli arrives on the scene with his brilliantly subversive Byliner Mob Fest ’29: The True Story Behind the Birth of Organized Crime. Tonelli investigates the long-standing myth of the mob’s founding—a legendary week in May 1929 in which a who’s who of American crime (Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Frank Costello, among many others) were said to have assembled in Atlantic City, the hedonistic Playground of America, to make peace and divvy up the country’s illegal enterprises. But what really happened that criminally star-studded week on the Jersey Shore?

At this informal summit, mobster bosses allegedly gathered to invent the concept of “organized crime” in America. Prohibition had transformed all of them from two-bit thugs into underworld bigwigs, and they had a vested interest in keeping illicit booze flowing easily across state lines. In Atlantic City, these hoods played as hard as they worked—if indeed they worked at all. “As legend has it,” writes Tonelli, “as many as thirty top gangsters [enjoyed] wild parties and heroic feasts, with fancy ladies provided for any who hadn’t brought his own. In short, this was nothing like the office meetings you and I have been made to attend.”

How many of these accounts are actually true, and why do they vary wildly in their retelling? Did the mobsters really wheel around the Boardwalk in rolling chairs, smoking cigars and cutting deals? Did they threaten one another in swank conference rooms in the Ritz-Carlton? Did they force Al Capone, fresh from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago, to turn himself in to the cops in order to take the heat off everyone else? And what about the infamous photo of Nucky Johnson—“the benevolent but undisputed king” of Atlantic City, better known as Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire—strolling the boards arm in arm with Capone? Was this a staged shoot caught by early paparazzi or a Prohibition-era Photoshop job designed to ignite conspiracy theories that would thrive for years to come?

At a time when the early mob days are all the rage, Tonelli sifts the facts from the malarkey and in so doing shows that when it comes to the birth of organized crime, a good lie is hard to beat.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Mob Gets the Tax Man, @TheMobMuseum Receives Donation of Artifacts from the Estate of Famed IRS Investigative Chief Elmer Lincoln Irey

The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, recently added to its Archives a collection of artifacts related to U.S. Treasury Department official Elmer Lincoln Irey (1888–1948), famed chief of the U.S. Treasury Department’s law enforcement agencies. Active from 1919 until his retirement in 1946, Irey eventually oversaw the operations of the U.S. Secret Service, the IRS Intelligence Unit, U.S. Customs and the Bureau of Narcotics, the Alcohol Tax Unit and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Irey led investigations credited with the prosecution of many notorious mobsters, including Al Capone, Waxey Gordon, Leon Gleckman, Johnny Torrio, Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, Moe Annenberg, Tom Pendergast, Frank Nitti, Paul Ricca and Louis Campagna. He is also recognized for the capture of suspected Lindbergh baby kidnapper Bruno Hauptmann. The Irey artifacts, which include newspaper clippings, correspondence between Irey and Charles Lindbergh as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt, photographs and other records, were donated to the Museum by the Gridley family.

The Mob Museum Archives are available to scholars, researchers and working press on an appointment basis. Building an archival collection enables the Museum to serve as a resource for those working in the fields of organized crime and law enforcement.

“We’re extremely grateful to Carole Irey Gridley and the entire Irey family for donating this collection to the Museum,” said Jonathan Ullman, executive director and CEO, The Mob Museum. “Adding important materials such as these to the Museum’s Archives is one of our long-term priorities. Irey’s investigative work for the U.S. Treasury Department was instrumental in apprehending many of the early 20th century’s most infamous Mob figures.”

A new exhibition, including the Irey objects and artifacts, is in development at the Museum with its public opening expected to be announced next year.

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